Hong Kong authorities said police allegedly involved in the beating of a pro-democracy protester would be removed from their positions after footage of the overnight incident went viral, sparking outrage from some lawmakers and the public.
Police said they arrested 45 protesters in the early hours of Wednesday, using pepper spray on those who resisted, as they cleared a major road in the Chinese-controlled city that had been barricaded by pro-democracy demonstrators with concrete slabs.
Several officers appeared to beat and kick one protester for several minutes after dragging him to a dark corner next to the protest site in footage aired by television broadcaster TVB.
Hong Kong Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok told a news conference that police would investigate the suspected use of excessive force. The officers shown in the video would be removed from their positions, Lai added.
The incident threatens to inflame tension in Hong Kong, where more than two weeks of protests over Chinese restrictions on how Hong Kong will choose its next leader in 2017 had been losing steam.
Alan Leong, leader of Hong Kong's pro-democracy Civic Party, identified the person in the video as Ken Tsang Kin-chiu and said he was a member of his party.